Pakistanis close bank accounts to avoid cybercrime

In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 a person works at a computer during the 10th International Cybersecurity Forum in Lille, France. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Pakistanis close bank accounts to avoid cybercrime

  • Memon said: Previously we were victims of armed gangs, but now we’re facing online gangs that are bent on robbing us

KARACHI: Amid cyberattacks on Pakistani banks, many account holders are cancelling their debit and credit cards to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime.
“I’ve closed my online account because of ongoing cyberattacks,” businessman Abdul Samad Memon told Arab News on Wednesday. “The banks aren’t sharing details of what’s happening.”
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) recently seized the bank account of an ice-cream vendor that contained 2.25 billion Pakistani rupees ($16.84 million). And on Oct. 27, Bank Islami reported that its IT security had been breached. 
On Monday, local media reported the FIA’s cybercrime chief, Mohammad Shoaib, as saying customers’ data from almost every major Pakistani bank had been stolen in a recent security breach.
But the State Bank of Pakistan said there is “no evidence” to support Shoaib’s claim, and data from only one bank had been compromised.
On Oct. 26, the Pakistan Computer Emergency Response Team (PakCERT), a cybersecurity services provider, reported a data dump on the dark web from more than 9,000 debit cards, of which 8,864 belonged to customers of Pakistani banks.
The compromised cards were sold for $100-$160, PakCERT said, adding that there was a second dump on Oct. 31 from more than 12,000 cards, 11,000 of them from Pakistani banks. A total of 19,864 cards were compromised from 22 Pakistani banks, it said.
Experts say the breaches were well organized. “The pattern of infiltration clearly shows that more than one entity was involved,” said financial and banking technologist S. M. Arif. “The withdrawals have taken place through financial systems, which means it’s a failure of multiple entities at multiple points.”
Banker A. B. Shahid told Arab News: “Customers believed that the banking systems were reliable and secure, but their confidence has been shaken.”
In the rush to promote electronic banking in Pakistan, banks had failed to take steps to install anti-hacking systems, he said. It will take banks several weeks to come up with a solution to online fraud, he added.
Memon said: “Previously we were victims of armed gangs, but now we’re facing online gangs that are bent on robbing us.”


Woman blows herself up in Chechen capital Grozny — RIA

A Chechen Interior Ministry servicemen stands guard at the site of the counter-terrorism operation, near a local media building known as the Press House, in the Chechen capital Grozny, in this December 4, 2014 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 sec ago
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Woman blows herself up in Chechen capital Grozny — RIA

  • The wider North Caucasus region remains volatile, however, with unemployment and corruption pushing some young men to embrace radical Islam

MOSCOW: A young woman blew herself up on Saturday near a police checkpoint in the Chechen capital Grozny in southern Russia but nobody else was killed or injured, RIA news agency said.
Police asked her to stop and present her documents but when she refused to obey they saw she was carrying a home-made explosive device. They fired a warning shot and she detonated the device, Interfax news agency reported.
The once restive province of Chechnya has been mostly calm in recent years under the iron rule of regional strongman Ramzan Kadyrov after Moscow fought two wars with separatists in the 1990s and 2000s following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
However, in August militants staged a series of attacks on police targets in Chechnya and Daesh claimed responsibility, without providing any evidence.
The wider North Caucasus region remains volatile, however, with unemployment and corruption pushing some young men to embrace radical Islam.